Malnutrition and Dehydration

While it is true that most people naturally lose weight as they age, in nursing home settings weight loss is often associated with malnutrition or dehydration as a result of the neglect of the nursing staff. Many elderly nursing home residents are unable to eat or drink, and are fed by tubes. They are entirely reliant on the nursing staff for all nutrition. As nursing homes are often understaffed, sometimes residents are not properly fed and hydrated resulting in rapid weight loss.

Malnutrition is one of the key factors contributing to skin breakdowns such as decubitus ulcers (bed sores). Additionally, malnourished residents are more susceptible to infection which their body may be too weak to fight.

Review with the staff's nutritionist the diet prescribed for your loved one. Discuss weight goals and keep track of your loved one's weight. Make sure that the staff is keeping track of input and output of those patients who are reliant on tube feedings to make sure they are getting enough nutrition and hydration.